Cousins enjoy an odd distinction: they're sort of friends, but also relatives. Or maybe they’re distant, and only see each other reluctantly at a wedding or a funeral. So imagine how weird it is for celebrities with cousins who are also famous. They see their family at every red carpet event and swanky Hollywood party. Here are nine pairs of celebrities who come from uniquely talented families.
1. Melissa McCarthy and Jenny McCarthy.
Back in the ‘90s, Jenny McCarthy was the more famous one, having been in Playboy a bunch of times and co-hosting MTV’s Singled Out. She gave her cousin, aspiring actress and improv comedian Melissa McCarthy, her first acting gig. (On an episode of MTV’s The Jenny McCarthy Show, McCarthy played “Melissa.”)
2. Al Roker and Lenny Kravitz.
The Today weatherman is first cousins with the late actress Roxie Roker, who played Helen Willis for 10 years on The Jeffersons. Her son is rock star and proud pants-ripper Lenny Kravitz, making him and Al Roker second cousins.
3. Taryn Manning, Peyton Manning, and Eli Manning.
Taryn Manning is best known for portraying Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett on Orange is the New Black, a show set in a prison. Ironically, her cousins are among the few pro football players not in jail: quarterback brothers Peyton Manning and Eli Manning. (Her father is cousins with the guys’ dad, Archie Manning.)
4. Bill Bellamy and Shaquille O’Neal.
Bellamy is a standup comic, was an MTV veejay in the ‘90s, and was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his starring role in Def Jam’s How to Be a Player. His cousin, however, is an actual player… of basketball! His cousin is Shaquille O’Neal, best known for putting up with Kobe Bryant and for playing Kazaam the rapping genie in Kazaam. They were also in this Reebok commercial together in 1998.
5. Half of Jodeci and Fantasia Barrino.
R&B duo K-Ci and JoJo (who had a #1 hit with the middle school dance-ready slow jam “All My Life”) were a spinoff of their previous group, Jodeci. That group consisted of two sets of brothers. K-Ci and JoJo are two of those brothers, and their second cousin is Fantasia Barrino, who won American Idol in 2004 and later starred in The Color Purple on Broadway.
6. Guy Ritchie and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Guy Ritchie (director of Snatch, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and other movies your freshman year roommate adored) betrayed his English heritage by marrying Madonna, a woman who only sounds like she’s a fancy British lady. His actual cousin—sixth cousin, to be exact—is actual fancy British lady Kate Middleton (a.k.a. The Duchess of Cambridge).
7. Snoop Dogg, Ray J, and Brandy.
Ray J, the famous singer/Kardashian sex tape participant, is the real-life brother of pop star Brandy. Both are cousins to the gin and juice enthusiast/LBC chronicler formerly known as Snoop Lion.
8. Monica and Ludacris.
Brandy’s romantic rival in song Monica is also, oddly enough, real-life cousins with a major rapper: Chris "Ludacris" Bridges.
9. Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.
Hey, remember when everybody used to play the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” and they tried to link an actor to Bacon through common costars in six movies or less? Well, in 2012, the respective stars of Footloose and The Closer went on the PBS genealogy show Finding Your Roots and learned that they’re distant cousins. They’ve also been married since 1988. This is one case where they could have used a few more degrees of separation.